The Islamic State (Isis) made an attempt to kidnap Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak along with the country's home and defence ministers, Kuala Lumpur authorities have revealed. Several others were also thought to have been targeted in the thwarted plot hatched by the Islamist group.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid, who is also the home minister, disclosed the details about the attempt while speaking in parliament on 8 March. Responding to a question on Malaysia's efforts in curbing the increasing IS influence, Zahid talked about the January 2015 foiled attempt.
"On 30 January, 2015, a total of 13 IS elements planned to kidnap the country's top leaders, including the prime minister, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and myself," said Zahid. "They also planned to rob a security van in Genting Highlands to fund their terror activities."
He added that four other terror attempts made by the extremist group were also foiled. "The group had planned to test improvised explosive devices before attacking a Syiah mosque and several Chinese temples in the city," said the Malaysian minister. The group is thought to have been operating somewhere from the north-western Malaysian state of Kedah.
The south-east Asian nation has been witnessing increasing threats from the IS in recent months. In January, Razak had admitted that Malaysia is not entirely immune to IS attacks.
"This threat is very real and my government takes it very seriously. This is a challenge that faces us all around the world. We are far from immune to this danger in Malaysia," said the Malaysian premier previously.
Officials had expressed fears that radicalised locals in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia who have undergone training in the Syrian and Iraqi battlegrounds could head back to their home countries to launch terror attacks.